Moscow's attempt to halve access for humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria from Turkey to just one border crossing voted down at Security Council.
A Russian bid to get the United Nations to reduce cross-border humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria has been voted down by the Security Council.
Russia needed nine votes and no veto from a permanent member of the Council to get its resolution passed on Wednesday –– but received only four votes, announced the President of the Security Council, German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen.
Seven countries voted against it and four abstained.
"The draft resolution has not been adopted, having failed to obtain the required number of votes," Heusgen said.
Authorisation for the aid, which comes through two crossing points on the Turkish border –– at Bab al Salam, which leads to the Aleppo region, and Bab al Hawa, which serves the Idlib region –– expires on Friday.
The UNSC must not fail in its purpose & moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. We must ensure humanitarian aid reaches those in need. We will not allow Russia & China to disregard human lives. I will not relent in my advocacy for the people of Syria. https://t.co/xARbS4aCGV— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) July 8, 2020
Under its resolution, Moscow had wanted to abolish the first crossing point and put a time limit of six months on the second.
Vietnam and South Africa backed Russia's resolution.
Against were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, and the Dominican Republic.
Tunisia, Niger, Indonesia, and Saint Vincent abstained, the diplomats said.
Russian and Chinese veto
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia and China cast vetoes to block the council from extending its approval for a year of aid deliveries to Syria from Turkey through two border crossings.
Russia then put forward its own text that would only approve one of those crossings for aid access for six months.
US envoy to the United Nations Kelly Craft told Reuters news agency she had urged her Security Council counterparts – who all voted in favour of Tuesday's resolution – to oppose Russia's draft resolution, describing the choice as "good versus evil."
"We're talking about the difference between life and death for millions of Syrians," she said, adding that council members should continue to push to keep two border crossings open.
Russia and China have argued that cross-border aid deliveries are not needed as those areas can be accessed from within Syria.
Multiple Russian, Chinese vetoes
During the coronavirus pandemic, the council has been operating virtually, which means members have 24 hours to cast a vote on a draft resolution.
Craft accused Russia and China of wanting to end all cross-border humanitarian assistance for Syria in an effort to help "prop-up" Bashar al Assad's regime.
A crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to civil war, with Moscow backing Assad and Washington supporting the opposition.
Millions of people have fled Syria and millions are internally displaced. More than 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Tuesday's vote was the 15th time that Russia has used its veto since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, and the ninth for China.